Jenson Button is in dire need of a confidence-boosting performance, and being the quickest driver by a comfortable half-second in the opening practice session for this weekend’s German Grand Prix could well be the tonic he needs.
The McLaren driver finished the session on top of a McLaren 1-2 on the timesheets in this morning’s opener at Hockenheim, but times were still deceptive with the session interrupted by no less than four separate rain showers.
Unable to effectively test their planned upgrade packages in the rain-hit British Grand Prix practice sessions, all teams were keen to clock up as much mileage as possible to evaluate their new parts. But the weather had other ideas, and any loss in track time was being roundly cursed up and down the pit lane.
McLaren was one such team to be trialling a host of upgrades, with their latest package including a new rear wing and sidepod designs. Button’s fastest time – a 1:16.595 – came early in the ninety-minute session.
Lotus was another team to arrive with a major upgrade package, with the E20 sporting the team’s first attempt at a ‘Super DRS’ design concept first pioneered by Mercedes. Kimi Räikkönen looked on course to improve his session’s best lap time in the final seconds, but had to lift off through the last complex of corners, courtesy of his compatriot Valtteri Bottas having spun his Williams into the Sachs Kurve gravel.
It was a rare mistake by the Finn, who has so far shown excellent pace and a clean driving record in his Friday outings for the Grove team, which will have little time to turn around the car and ready it for Bruno Senna, who will step in the car for the afternoon’s second practice session.
2012 German Formula 1 Grand Prix – Free Practice 1 Session Times:
|1.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:16.595||27|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton||McLaren Mercedes MP4-27||1:17.093||+ 0.498||22|
|3.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:17.370||+ 0.775||21|
|4.||Michael Schumacher||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:17.382||+ 0.787||20|
|5.||Sergio Pérez||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:17.413||+ 0.818||28|
|6.||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:17.599||+ 1.004||17|
|7.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG F1 W03||1:17.915||+ 1.320||27|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F2012||1:17.995||+ 1.400||22|
|9.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW34||1:18.020||+ 1.425||20|
|10.||Romain Grosjean||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:18.130||+ 1.535||21|
|11.||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber Ferrari C31||1:18.226||+ 1.631||22|
|12.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:18.339||+ 1.744||21|
|13.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW34||1:18.422||+ 1.827||28|
|14.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:18.709||+ 2.114||30|
|15.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E20||1:18.831||+ 2.236||14|
|16.||Jules Bianchi||Force India Mercedes VJM05||1:18.972||+ 2.377||21|
|17.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR7||1:19.039||+ 2.444||34|
|18.||Vitaly Petrov||Caterham Renault CT01||1:19.674||+ 3.079||24|
|19.||Heikki Kovalainen||Caterham Renault CT01||1:19.963||+ 3.368||24|
|20.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB8||1:20.122||+ 3.527||27|
|21.||Charles Pic||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:20.169||+ 3.574||20|
|22.||Timo Glock||Marussia Racing Cosworth MR01||1:20.539||+ 3.944||18|
|23.||Pedro de la Rosa||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:21.138||+ 4.543||24|
|24.||Dani Clos||HRTF1 Cosworth F112||1:21.740||+ 5.145||27|